New Consortium Focuses on RFID Adoption in Healthcare

By RFID Journal

With DoseID's launch, RFID tag certification will be provided by the Auburn University RFID Lab's ARC Program.

DoseID, a member-driven industry consortium focused on the use of radio frequency identification technology in the healthcare space, was launched earlier this month. DoseID was created to offer best practices for using serialized, RFID-tagged medications to support the quality, performance and interoperability of tagged drug products as they move through the pharmacy supply chain, from manufacture to patient. The organization's RFID tag certification will be provided by the Auburn University RFID Lab's ARC Program.

Founding consortium members include Avery Dennison, Baxter, CCL Healthcare, Hikma, Kit Check, MPI Label Systems, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Omnicell and Sandoz. Its goal, according to DoseID, is to bring industry participants together to ensure RFID-tagged drugs work in all downstream IT systems in hospitals and health systems, and to provide interoperability, performance and accurate tracking of medication use so industry participants can access reliable information regarding every medication dose.

"We are very supportive of the DoseID mission and glad to be part of the founding membership," said DJ Lee, Avery Dennison's global channel sales director, in a prepared statement. "As a world leader in digital identification technologies and RFID production, creating over 30 billion tags to date, we are excited to support DoseID with this crucial initiative for the healthcare industry. We have a long-standing partnership with third-party certification group ARC Lab and our experience and R&D capabilities have enabled the innovation of RFID products to support the challenging demands of the healthcare industry."

DoseID's concepts have already been shown to be successful, the consortium reports, with more than 120 million tagged units in the field and a recent pilot with the FDA associated with DSCSA compliance and the 2023 regulations. "We are thrilled to be working with pharmaceutical industry leaders to introduce DoseID and ensure the standardization of RFID in the healthcare space," said Dr. Bill Hardgrave, the university's senior VP for academic affairs and the RFID Lab's founder, in the prepared statement. "After assisting the retail and aerospace industries in fully commercializing RFID for unit-level visibility, we are pleased we can help revolutionize healthcare with those lessons learned."

The RFID Lab is an established research institute focused on the business case and technical implementation of RFID in various fields. The lab has worked with industry groups representing some of the largest users of RFID, including in the retail and aerospace industries, to establish rigid standards for performance and interoperability. The facility has served as a third-party RFID certification body for industry for more than 15 years, establishing performance and quality specifications that have evolved into standards like GS1's TIPP standard.

The ARC Program is intended to ensure that parties meet the certification standards, and that these standards meet the needs of all industry players. Medications tagged at the unit dose with DoseID-certified RFID labels will be open to all automation vendors that wish to use the standard for searching drug provenance, thus ensuring that items like refrigerated drugs with beyond-use dating are understood by all parties.

"We are excited to join the DoseID consortium, as these unilateral standards support the vision of Autonomous Pharmacy, a roadmap to develop a zero-error, fully automated medication management infrastructure," said Scott Seidelmann, Omnicell's executive VP and chief commercial officer, in the prepared statement. "RFID standards will provide a framework for a seamless clinical experience, supporting better patient safety." DoseID's RFID technologies build on existing serialization efforts, the consortium reports, presenting a comprehensive answer to the DSCSA's calls for supply chain modernization.

"Reliable, transparent medication supply chains are crucial to Baxter's priorities of advancing pharmacy efficiency and patient care," said Sumant Ramachandra, Baxter's president of pharmaceuticals, senior VP and chief science and technology officer, in the prepared statement. "DoseID is an important step toward modernizing these supply chains, and we welcome the opportunity to help guide the development of medication tracking." Kevin MacDonald, Kit Check's CEO and cofounder, added, "Kit Check's mission is to bring item-level visibility to drug products, and we are therefore extremely excited to be a part of DoseID. We pioneered RFID use for tracking drug products and are optimistic about the future of its use in the industry."

As a growing number of companies incorporate RFID tags on external packaging or within the drug delivery format, DoseID explains, it is critical that RFID technology work reliably and be open to all downstream participants so they can consistently access standards-based information, such as GS1's SGTIN, as well as medication histories, lot numbers and beyond-use dates. DoseID aims to address the issues of a mixed environment encompassing multiple technology vendors, drug manufacturers and health-system-tagged medications. All tagged doses can be recognized in all relevant systems, DoseID reports.

"Sandoz is committed to driving innovation that improves access to medicines, and we encourage the industry towards RFID technology. We believe this will be game-changing in the hospital setting, and we are proud to be at the forefront as one of the founding members of DoseID," said Carol Lynch, Sandoz's president, in the prepared statement. "This collaboration uniquely fits with our goal of creating strategic alliances to ensure patient access to critical, high-quality, affordable medicines when they need them."

With participation across the entire pharmaceutical supply chain, from drug manufacturers to inlay providers, automation vendors and hospitals, RFID unit-level medication tracking can achieve DoseID's goals of interoperability, reliable tag performance, and complete and accurate data, the consortium predicts. By offering a mechanism for RFID standardization to players throughout the supply chain, DoseID's certification is intended to ensure optimized performance for end users and industry participants alike.

"Hikma is committed to taking innovative approaches to solve the challenges of the pharmaceutical supply chain," said Riad Mishlawi, the president of the company's injectable business unit, in the prepared statement. "We are glad to join forces with other industry players for such an important initiative." Shauna Crawford, MPI Label Systems' RFID general manager, added: "As a leader in RFID labeling in the healthcare space, DoseID membership will be immensely valuable to MPI. With the continued adoption of RFID for drug manufacturing, we are glad to be a part of the group shaping the future of this technology to ensure utmost efficiency and safety."

When properly configured, DoseID notes, RFID medication-tracking systems can address problems plaguing the supply chain, including shortages, recalls and diversion, while reducing integration headaches prevalent in siloed healthcare systems. The self-governing consortium says its founding members are from throughout the pharmaceutical industry, with its membership comprising drug manufacturers, 503b compounding pharmacies, pharmacy automation vendors, and inlay and tag manufacturers. All members will offer products that meet the standards set by the consortium.

"As a longtime believer in the valuable application of RFID in drug product manufacturing, DoseID membership is a must," said Lou Kennedy, Nephron Pharmaceuticals' CEO, in the prepared statement. "To date, we have manufactured over 20 million RFID tagged-doses in our manufacturing facilities and we are excited to work with fellow groups in the consortium." Pramit Sen, CCL Healthcare's VP and general manager for labels, added: "As a leading player in healthcare labeling, CCL is excited to join DoseID and help pave the way for the future of RFID. With all different aspects of the medication supply chain represented we are enthusiastic about continued innovation."